Press Release: PathWays PA to Hold Event to Discuss Pennsylvania’s Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges

2/3rd’s of 2020 Workforce are Already Out of High School – Community Colleges are the Best Way to Ensure Higher Education for Adults to Ensure a Stronger Workforce and Higher Earning Potential.

In today’s troubled economy, access to good jobs and wages has become more important than ever, creating another reason for Pennsylvania to take action to ensure more students can afford and access community college education and the increased earnings potential it provides. In a new report, “Pennsylvania’s Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges,” PathWays PA examines the impact that community colleges and other workforce development can have on the earnings of Pennsylvanians.

PathWays PA is proud to announce a forum focused on the needs of Pennsylvania's workforce and the role community colleges can play within that workforce.

WHERE: United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA

WHEN: September 23, 2010 - 2:00-4:00
WHO: Carol Goertzel, President & CEO of PathWays PA
           Vickie Choitz, Senior Policy Analyst of CLASP
           Brandon Roberts, Working Poor Families Project

In addition to discussing this report, participants will also have the opportunity to learn more about workforce development and community colleges from around the country. Vickie Choitz, Senior Policy Analyst at CLASP, will be speaking at this forum to highlight national research and information crucial to this important topic. Brandon Roberts, President of Brandon Roberts + Associates (which manages the national Working Poor Families Project) will also be on hand to discuss information on working low-income families.

Many state community colleges are already working to make their schools as affordable and accessible to students as possible. However, many Pennsylvania counties (especially those in the northern and central areas of the state) have no access to a community college. Also, while community colleges rank high in affordability compared to public and private four-year institutions, tuition at Pennsylvania’s community colleges is among the most expensive in the country.

“We know that community colleges are not and should not be the only method of workforce development in the state,” said Carol Goertzel, President/CEO of PathWays PA. “However, as more people are being laid off or underemployed, they need access to educational and technological experiences in order to find family-sustaining jobs. Community colleges and other workforce entities are already offering this access, but there is more that can be done.”

While many students enter college straight from high school, a growing number of students need access to higher education after they have already entered the workforce. Nationally, 2/3rds of the 2020 workforce has already graduated from high school, but they have not all gone on to higher education. Pennsylvania ranks 3rd highest in the country for the number of adults (age 18-64) whose formal education ended with a high school diploma or GED.

“Unfortunately, whether they work in a factory or in the healthcare field, this generation of workers is more likely to need some post-secondary education to earn a family-sustaining wage,” notes Goertzel. “It doesn’t have to be a four-year degree, but more jobs require some college or a specialized certificate in order to qualify for work.”

The paper is available at


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